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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

making HEADlines:

RATEBEER sells minority stake to AB InBev's ZX Ventures; Dogfish Head Founder Requests Removal from Site

June 5, 2017:


From the nothing-should-surprise-us-anymore world of craft beer and "big beer" relationships comes news that beer information and rating site Rate Beer sold a minority stake in its business to ZX Ventures, part of the AB InBev global conglomerate. Rate Beer Executive Director Joe Tucker made that announcement on Friday, June 2. "The focus of the agreement was on maintaining RateBeer’s value as an unbiased beer authority, retaining our operational independence, informing a whole new group of global consumers and keeping them excited about the beer," said the news release.  




In response to that announcement, today Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Founder Sam Calagione issued a news release asking that Dogfish Head beers be removed from the beer rating site, citing journalistic conflicts of interest. "We were troubled by the announcement last week that ZX Ventures, which is fully owned by the global conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev, has purchased a portion of RateBeer. We believe this is a direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and a blatant conflict of interest," the message stated. 

It will be interesting to see what, if any, backlash this latest news has on the craft beer consumer, i.e., will consumers stop using the site, will there be an influx of negative comments, or will it be business as usual? One has to wonder whether comments will be moderated, censored or edited. On the other side, what effect will this development have on AB InBev's end, i.e., will other beer sites be targeted, will the beer mega-company refer to ratings and trends in determining which breweries to considering purchasing next?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is for certain: there's sure to be more news about craft beer and big beer down the road. 

Cheers,

Linda Johnson
Certified Cicerone®